Cut Jesse Some Slack!!!!!

Cut Jesse Some Slack!!!!!

Having heard these sermons for several years now I can truthfully say we should cut Jesse some slack.  When Samuel anointed David as king, David was not there initially.  It has become the rage to blast Jesse for disrespecting his youngest son, the sermon this weekend included David’s mother in the “let’s hate David club.”  I am not sure what it would be like to be the youngest of eight sons, but I would bet the toughest of Jesse’s sons was David.  Why, he had seven bothers to fight with, that lion and bear never stood a chance.  I would guess that by the time he was anointed, David was the overachieving little brother who would not back down from anyone or anything.

Think about the day Samuel shows up in Bethlehem.  The town leaders were in panic mode, and they had to find Jesse and sons.  David, as the youngest, was tending the sheep, and probably left at first light.  A job every other brother had done when they were the youngest.  David may have been an hour or two walk from town by the time Jesse was told to come with his sons.

In our twentieth century, western mentality it was WRONG to leave David out.  What if it was just normal and practical to hurry to the sacrifice because it would have been rude to keep Samuel waiting three hours while they tried to find the pasture David was tending the sheep in?   Who knows, David may have been composing the 23 Psalm that morning, and it was inconvenient for him to leave in the middle of the tune!

In addition to all of that Jesse is mentioned forty-four times in the NIV.  God did not seem to upset about David’s treatment because in Isaiah 11: 1 and 10, and in Romans 15: 12 the term “the root of Jesse” is used to describe Jesus.  The term “root of David” is used twice in Revelations, chapter 5 and 22.

Okay, I do not know why David was not there to start with.  But this maybe one time to not westernize a Bible story to make a point that was not there.  Saul’s servant in 1 Samuel 16: 18 certainly had plenty of good things to say about David and I find it hard to believe that Jesse was not proud of all of his sons, especially the child of his old age.

In Samuel – The Anointing of David I look at it from Samuel’s side.  I believe it was a test for the old prophet to go and anoint a new king.

pic from:  http://clipart.christiansunite.com/1379673661/Bible_Characters_Clipart/David_Clipar

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Samuel – Saul’s Servant

The unsung hero in the story of Samuel and Saul is the servant.  I am pretty sure I have never heard a sermon about his role in the crowning of Saul as king.  He is never named and only referred to as a servant (na ar).  He had a “God part” to do and did it well.  He is easily compared to Ananias (Acts 9) in the story of Saul the Apostle.  He did the job that needed to be done and was never heard of again.  Na ar is mentioned nine times before Saul’s signs and only once after them.

In the Strong’s/Vines Concordance the first definition listed is probably not the description of this servant.  I think he would have been younger than Saul but not a boy.  He was certainly trusted and displayed knowledge of his physical surrounding.  He was also spiritually aware because he encouraged Saul to “see the prophet” when he was ready to go home.  He had brought his own money, and was willing to use it to resolve the “donkey problem.”  He was obedient and loyal to Saul and followed Saul’s leading when the uncle asked about Samuel.

He was honored at the sacrifice because he got to eat with Saul in the main room.  But he was not allowed to witness the actual pouring of the oil.  He would have seen the results of the anointing because the oil would have been all over Saul’s head.  He observed/witnessed the three signs and I cannot believe Saul was not talking about them as they went.

God used an unnamed servant to affect the history of Israel; sometimes we have to do things “just because.”  It turned out well for him.  Who knows maybe he was Ziba the servant in 2 Samuel 9 who did play a part in the life of Mephibosheth and the story of Lo Debar.

Samuel and the Priest

One aspect of the story of Samuel that has always made me curious was the Levitical priest.  Samuel may have been “adopted” by Eli, but he was from the wrong Tribe.  He assumed the role of prophet and clearly was a judge (leader of Israel), but he could not be a priest.  Eli and his sons died on the same day, so that left his grandsons.  They would have needed to be trained.  I had written in another post that Samuel may have done this, but I had not counted on the other part of the family that had gone very quiet.

Aaron had four sons during the Exodus.  The first two died because they did not have proper respect for God.  That left Eleazar and Ithamar.  Eli was a descendant of Ithamar.  Eleazer’s side of the family had “disappeared” for some reason.

Eli’s side of the family was removed from serving as priest by Solomon.  The two graphics show the list and the family tree of Aaron’s sons.  I used the NIV and various concordances to make the list.  The websites will help with further study.

 

 

samuel-list-of-priest

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samuel-list-of-priest-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Priests_of_Israel#/media/File:Kohanim.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Priest_of_Israel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Priests_of_Israel

Samuel – Saul, and the Signs

Background

Saul’s anointing in 1 Samuel 10 follows a pattern that can be seen in lives of other leaders.  There is a calling followed by a physical anointing/visitation, that is confirmed by “signs” with the person doing the job they have been called to do.  The reason I say “a pattern” is that every step may not be recorded in Biblical text, or at least a matter of discussion between friends.  God also can individualize the pattern to fit the person and situation.  I can see this pattern in the lives of Moses, David, Samuel, and others.

Like an onion this story has several layers that can be viewed, but all of them are presented as one solid story.  Josephus and Matthew Henry were used in this study and they exposed layers in this story that I had not noticed.

I have said before the anointing of Saul was a “faith building situation” for the old prophet Samuel.  Samuel’s “building” part started the day before Saul arrived in his town.  (NOTE: Many of the places in chapter 9 and 10 are unknown.  It would be fun to be able to follow Saul’s exact footsteps but that is not a reality.)  If this was Samuel’s hometown, this took place in Ramah.  Most maps put this in southern Benjamin near Jerusalem.  So for the Lord to say, “I am sending you a Benjamite” could be viewed as vague.  Samuel took this information and reserved a “royal” portion of the meat; he also knew about the donkeys.

I think these “words” were also given to build faith in Saul, in order to prepare for the anointing the next day. How specific the “words” were is a reflection of God trying to build up Saul, who may have been a little weak in his understanding of God.  I say this because of his need to “reward” the prophet for his time, the timing of when he calls for a fast, and his need to do the work of Samuel with respect to the offerings.

After the physical oil was poured on Saul, he was told that three very specific things would happen: at Rachel’s tomb he would get news of the donkeys, he was required to take bread, and that he would join in the activities of a group of prophets.  I wonder if 10:8 was not a fourth thing that needed to be done.  Verse 7 and 9 talk about his heart being changed before the trip to Gilgal could take place, and some resources put this reference to another time.  Gilgal was where Joshua circumcised the men before the conquest of the land could begin.  The “seven days” may represent the work/rest cycle (Genesis and the Law) before the new time in Israel’s history was to begin.

First Sign – verse 2  This sign has several interesting layers.  Saul being a Benjamite and starting at Rachel’s tomb begins the symbolism.  Benjamin was the thirteenth child of Jacob/Israel and the second child of Rachel.  The only child of Jacob born in Canaan, and this tomb was the starting place of the Tribe of Benjamin.  Zelzah may mean “a cover for his bright spot”, and its exact location is unknown, the text is also rendered “south border.”   There is a traditional Rachel’s tomb near Jerusalem.  This was Saul’s “pull back” to “present problems.”  The men confirm Samuel’s word that the donkeys were found, but that Kish was worried about him.  Saul and the servant may have been gone for a while because it would seem they went north, came in a large arc to the south covering a lot of territory.  Family is the theme that unifies the first sign. This includes past and present.

Second Sign – verse 3 and 4  Saul and his servant were moving toward home.  The next place they were going was the “great tree of Tabor.”  Tabor means brokenness; this shadows Jesus on the cross. Here he would meet three men going to the House (Bethel) of God.  What they are carrying (young goats, bread, and wine) indicates these would be and offering.  Saul was to accept part of their offering; this is stated in such a way as to suggest he might have refused it.  Again there could be several things here that God is working on.  First, it was immediate provisions for them to finish their journey.  Second, pride could have been a factor; in taking the offering it was doing a work in him.  Also it would seem that God was willing to share His offering with them.  The theme here is a personal work done in Saul.   

Third Sign – 5 to 7 The two wanders move now to Gibeah of God.  Gibeah and several variations refer to “hill.”  Here at Gibeah Saul is to meet prophets and join in the prophesying. Samuel tells him that he will be changed as he prophesies because of the Spirit of the Lord.  He is now ready (supposedly) to act as king.  There is still some narrative before he is introduced to the people in verse 24.  The sign’s theme is spiritual change.

Observations – 1.  The Philistine outpost on or near the Hill of God should disturb us.  They let God’s people worship and did not try to stop them, but they were still in charge, and keeping an eye on them.

  1. People noticed the change. Saul’s uncle was curious.  Both Josephus and Matthew Henry comment on this and Saul’s incomplete answer; they feel that if he had told what happened, jealous and ill feelings would have started in the family.
  2. Saul did continue to prophesy. 1 Samuel 18: 10

4. His hiding in the baggage could be seen as him going back to the “old Saul.”

Samuel – Food, Feast, and Fast

Food and Meals

An unusual link that twist the stories in 1 and 2 Samuel together is food and meals.  Eating or abstaining from it are key ingredients in many of the stories in the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David.  The anointing of Saul and David are both served at sacrifices and their accompanying feast (probably New Moon Celebrations).  Fasting stirs the drama of stories with Jonathan and Saul.  The main course at several feasts was treachery, often served with someone dying.Challah_Bread_Six_Braid_1

1 Samuel starts with Elkanah giving Hannah a double portion at the sacrifice and ends with Saul breaking his fast with the fattened calf.  David also feeds a slave to find where the Amalekite raiding party that is feasting on their plunder.  2 Samuel opens with David feasting his enemy who is seeking peace, only to have his general kill him, and additional courses of treachery are added with Amnon and Absalom in chapter 13.  The feasting continues in 1 Kings with Adonijah giving a party to proclaim himself king.  Meals are included in many of the stories, and show the importance of these times in the lives of the people.  It adds the touch of humanity to what could be just a history lesson.

Fasting

Several fast are also talked about in 1 Samuel; too show this use and possible abuse of a way to seek YHWH.  In chapter 7 Israel is fasting at Mizpah repenting before the LORD.  The Philistines attack and God responds with thunder and a rout of the enemy.  A rout and fasting are also in chapter 14, but this seems to be a very “religious thing” and almost cost Jonathan his life.  Saul may have been making amends for his foolishness in chapter 13.  Chapter 20 has Jonathan not eating at a New Moon Festival because he was grieved that his father was determined to kill David.  Saul is again fasting in chapter 18 because he hopes it will find favor with God or Samuel as he consults a witch.  Even though fasting is important it seems Saul did not understand his God and this method of seeking Him.

New Moon Festivals

Personally, the importance of this festival was lost to me until this post, it may become a post of its own in the future.  This was an important time each thirty days for the people of Israel.  The moon was the main time keeping device Israel.  Special sacrifices (1 Samuel 20:29) and celebrations were planned at this time by the people.  The new moon is reminder of “rebirth” and fresh starts with God.  The lunar calendar is important in the Bible and it is something to be aware of as we read Scripture.  I did a brief study of the full moon with a post on Passover.

Food, feast, or fast all find their way into the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David.  They are just as important to us today.  It maybe time with friends and family, fellowship dinners, or cropped-dscf0348.jpgthe Lord’s Supper but all of us have strong memories preserved in the act of eating.

These sites were used for reference on feast and New Moon celebrations.

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Rosh_Chodesh/rosh_chodesh.html

http://www.jewfaq.org/chodesh.htm , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosh_Chodesh

http://www.beingjewish.com/yomtov/chodesh/newmoon.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challah